Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky was found lying on his bathroom floor with a "ligature around his neck", a policeman said at the opening of an inquest into his death today.

Detective Inspector Mark Bissell confirmed that the cause of the 67-year-old's death was "consistent with hanging".

He said a similar material to the one around his neck was found on the shower rail above him.

He said toxicology tests on the body will continue as well as searches at his home in Ascot, Berkshire.

The inquest at the Guildhall in Windsor was opened and adjourned by Berkshire Coroner Peter Bedford.

Coroner's officer Janine Prunty confirmed that Mr Berezovsky's daughter, Elizaveta Berezovskaya, formally identified the body.

A post-mortem examination by a pathologist found no indication of a violent struggle in connection with the death.

Mr Berezovsky, was referred to today as Platon Elemin, having changed his name by deed poll.

The Russian exile was found dead at his home in Mill Lane, Ascot, last Saturday.

Mr Bissell, of Thames Valley Police, said an employee found and identified Mr Berezovsky.

He added that Mr Berezovsky was last seen alive at approximately 9.05pm the night before by the same employee.

Mr Bissell said the scene of the death is currently under police control and the results of any tests carried out will take several weeks.

Although the post-mortem examination found no evidence of a violent struggle, Mr Bissell said the involvement of a third party "cannot be completely eliminated as tests remain outstanding".

Mr Berezovsky fell out with Russian President Vladimir Putin and often feared for his life, prompting speculation in Britain and Russia over the manner of his death.

Even though police said they have found no evidence that anyone else was involved, this has not stopped widespread speculation.

Specialist officers in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear substances examined the country mansion in Mill Lane on Sunday before declaring it safe.